New Castle News

June 13, 2013

Ellwood City to unveil community plaza

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A two-story wallside water fountain highlights the landscaping of the Ellwood City Community Plaza.

The concert and farm market venue, in the 500 block of Lawrence Avenue, will celebrate its grand opening June 22.

After five years of planning and obtaining grants and donations, the plaza and farmers market are ready for use by the community, according to Lenore Bazzichi, past chairwoman of the Ellwood City Revitalization Committee.

This year’s chairwoman of the nonprofit organization is Terri Stramba, Ellwood City Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Bazzichi, who remains active on the committee, said a circular brick stage looks out to a two-story wall of water, and music from the stage resounds throughout the town.

The first concert to demonstrate those acoustics will be at the grand opening, following a 6:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting. The HZ Jazz Band of Harmony and Zelienople will provide the music.

The plaza was designed by landscape architects EG&G Inc. of Akron, Bazzichi said. The committee assisted in plans to keep the area green.

“There is less water runoff than before and the water is getting trapped and feeding the trees,” Bazzichi noted.

“We’ve worked since 2007 to get this accomplished,” she said of the entire project. “We’re doing it to get people back downtown.”

Bazzichi said she has seen people go to the plaza area to eat their lunches and use their phones and laptop computers outdoors.

Armstrong Cable donated a free Wi-Fi hot spot, she said.

The outdoor venue will be the site of concerts and other community events. The bricked plaza has seating, trees that are lit from underneath at night and a raised stage.

A parking lot behind the plaza allows for additional seating.

Stramba recognized the revitalization committee’s efforts, along with those of Ellwood City’s businesses and chamber of commerce.

“We’ve created a beautiful and serene plaza where visitors can relax and enjoy the water feature, eat a picnic lunch, enjoy free community concerts and shop at the farmers market on Beaver Avenue on Saturday mornings during the summer months,” Stramba said.

“The plaza is just the beginning ... we plan to make it the cornerstone of our revitalization of the downtown.”

All performances are free. Those attending are advised to take lawn chairs for seating.

The site also will host educational programs and other activities throughout the year.

Any groups that would like to use the community plaza for an event should contact the revitalization committee online at www.ellwoodcityrevitalization.org. That site also includes the grand opening schedule of events and upcoming concerts.

The plaza also is home to the Ellwood City Farmers Market, which already has opened for the summer with a growing number of vendors and shoppers, Bazzichi said.

“This is helping more than 20 small businesses. We call them vendors, but this is their livelihood.”

The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.